New Year's Day Grand Union Flag Raising Ceremony in Somerville

The first flag of the American colonies was raised on Prospect Hill on New Year's Day in 1776. The annual ceremony in Somerville celebrates that moment.

The following was sent by the city of Somerville:


237th Flag Raising Commemorated Atop Prospect Hill by City Officials, Residents, and “George Washington” on Horseback.

SOMERVILLE - Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Historic Preservation Commission Director Brandon Wilson announced that the 237th annual "Grand Union" flag-raising ceremony at Prospect Hill Park will be held on Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at 12:00 p.m.  A processional led by a re-enactor portraying General George Washington on horseback will leave from the City Hall Concourse at 11:30 a.m.  As always, members of the public are invited to participate, and are encouraged to wear traditional colonial clothing.  The annual ceremony commemorates the raising of the nation's first official flag, featuring thirteen red and white horizontal stripes, atop Prospect Hill on New Year's Day, 1776.  At the time, Prospect Hill was a key site in a string of fortifications created by Washington and the Continental Army in their siege of British troops in Boston during the first year of the American Revolution.    

The afternoon's program will include songs, readings, and participants from the Ancient and Honorable Company (first chartered in 1638), as well as the Charlestown militia. This year's celebrations will once again include His Majesty's 10th Regiment of Foot, who will be representing the British Army and will be bringing a message from King George III.  The American Legion Post 19 Honor Guard will lead a military salute as a commemorative flag is raised atop the Prospect Hill Tower.   

Light refreshments will be served, and miniature replicas of the Grand Union Flag, both as a flag and a lapel pin, as well as colonial-era tricorner hats and historic Somerville books commemorating the event will be available for purchase.   

For more information, or to receive a free, commemorative program, contact Brandon Wilson, Executive Director at the Historic Preservation Commission at 617-625-6600 ext. 2532 or Bwilson@somervillema.gov.      



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